Charcoal base as an odor absorber?


10 Years
Apr 13, 2011
Hi.. I have 3 gold-laced wyandottes whose coop is in our side yard. we live in a residentiall area, but my chickens are newly legal.. I don't usually have a smell problem, but when it rains, it can be pretty stinky. Their run is 8X4, and I usually let them out to roam the entire side yard, which is a small, completely fenced area of @ 7x25-30. They have destroyed the grass in the side yard and I have thoughts on containing them to their run periodically to give our grass a chance to recooperate. I am concerned about the smell. Is it possible to place a thin layer of charcoal on the run "floor" and cover it with a several inch layer of small smooth pebbles/rock? My thought was that the poop would decompose and filter through the pebbles and be neutralized by the odor-absorbing charcoal.. I do not mean charcoal briquets. Maybe the hardwood charcoal chunks broken up.. If my chickens eat this, will it hurt them? Any other ideas?
I don't know about charcoal and chickens, but can offer you this:

If the run is smelly, I'd be more worried about pathogens than odor. You need a balance between poop (nitrogen), leafy/twiggy stuff (carbon), moisture, and air (just like a compost heap).

Either decrease nitrogen (poop), or increase carbon matter (dried leaves, straw, pine boughs), or reduce moisture (raising the run, directing water flow, covering the run), or increase air (sand or other particulate in the base).

Good luck!

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